Monday, March 15, 2004

Fear of the Feminine

I just stumbled across an interesting article on gender roles, Fear of the Feminine, by Nancy Myer Hopkins.

Here's an excerpt;

"What is driving the intensity of our current church infighting?" Is it really just about what people do sexually with each other?

Probably not. A more likely reason for a significant amount of the negativism is that same-sex relationships violate the rules laid down by all patriarchal cultures about how men and women should behave in relationship to one another. The same rules also narrowly define acceptable relationships between people of the same sex.

Looking through this lens, we can see that the offenses pile up rapidly. If a lesbian woman does not need a man to satisfy her, protect her and keep her in line, the threat of the feminine is there; if a gay man is able to access the feminine side of his being, his every move can be considered suspect and an affront to many. If long-term relationships between two people of the same sex toss the age-old formulas attached to male dominance and female submission out the window, what are we left with? And if we must allow people who are partnered in this way to live openly and with our blessing -- so that we can't pretend that this is not happening -- how offensive is that? It is only offensive if we continue to cling to a patriarchal framework which keeps the feminine in her "proper" place.
I think this author is on to something. She goes on to compare the human body language of dominance and submission and the body language of dogs. Drawing from media ad examples, Hopkins makes a convincing case that "...many women have subliminally absorbed the idea that to be sexy, desirable and attractive, one must be submissive. It is no accident that troublesome females are called bitches..."

Take a look. Let's hear your reaction.


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